Lawyer questions police influence in mother's interview after deaths

January 31, 1996|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A lawyer yesterday continued her attempt to keep a jury from hearing Rene Elizabeth Aulton's confession in the fiery deaths of her daughters, suggesting that Baltimore police who interviewed Ms. Aulton might have influenced her story.

Prosecutors on Monday played tapes of statements Ms. Aulton made to police on three occasions after the fire in her Canton rowhouse Nov. 15, 1994. On the final tape, Ms. Aulton told detectives she set the blaze to kill herself and her daughters, ages 2 and 4, because she was depressed about a former boyfriend's possible release from prison.

Assistant Public Defender Mary Jo Livingston's cross-examination of Sgt. Terrence McLarney, who interviewed Ms. Aulton, yesterday centered on what happened during several instances when detectives stopped questioning and turned the tape recorder off. A defense psychologist has evaluated Ms. Aulton as borderline retarded and easily confused.

Sergeant McLarney testified that anything Ms. Aulton said when the recorder was off she later repeated on tape.

Baltimore Circuit Judge John C. Themelis is to decide whether the confession can be used at Ms. Aulton's trial on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson. The hearing is to continue today.

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